Wendell Oliver Scott was a race car driver who won over 128 races in his career in various divisions including a win in the Grand National series, now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. He finished as high as sixth in points in NASCAR’s top series, numerous times in the top-15 in points. Scott won the Richmond track championship and the Virginia State Sportsman title. What makes his accomplishments more intriguing is Scott did this one of the lowest budgets of any team. While many teams had manufacturer backing Scott did nearly all the work on the car himself using mainly used parts and second-hand cars. His sons served often as his pit crew and even Wendell himself pitted his own car. Scott did not even start racing until the age of 30. A former moonshine hauler, Scott developed his driving style on the backroads of Virginia doing his own hot-rodding of his car.
Determination, ingenuity, resourceful and shear talent all describe Wendell Scott. When you look at his accomplishments with the equipment and budget he had, it is said by many that given factory backing he may have in fact won NASCAR championships. Add to this that he was a black man in a white man’s sport and had to endure racial discrimination. Darlington Raceway banned Scott from racing there for many years because he was black. When Scott won in the NASCAR Grand National race at Jacksonville, Florida in 1963 they did not wave the checkered flag for him but initially gave the win to Buck Baker. NASCAR officials said a scoring error was responsible for allowing Baker to accept the winner’s trophy. Scott doubted that explanation. “Everybody in the place knew I had won the race,” he said years later, “but the promoters and NASCAR officials didn’t want me out there kissing any beauty queens or accepting
any awards.” While NASCAR did later give the win to Scott, he did not receive the trophy which was reportedly misplaced. 47 years later in 2010 the Scott family was presented a replica trophy. Through all the prejudice he endured, Wendell never retaliated.
Scott retired in racing shortly after a devastating crash at Talladega in 1973. He passed away in 1990 from spinal cancer. Wendell Scott is the definition of a real racer. Whenever someone speaks about the great qualities of a particular race car driver they could apply the same to Wendell Scott.